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Old 11-29-2008, 07:41 AM   #1
danio5988
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Discus Water Parameters.


it seems that , some people say that the rules of taking care of Discus do not really require all the mumbo jumbo unless you want to breed them.

I wonder if PH is more important than the hardness or they both equally important because I believe there are discus fish that can adapt to higher PH and hard water.

any opinions?
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Old 11-29-2008, 07:45 AM   #2
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ph and hardness is not important unless your breeding of have some really finicky wild discus. as long as your water is STABLE, your discus will be absolutely fine.
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Old 11-29-2008, 07:54 AM   #3
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thats what I thought, as long as the water is in good quality, i don;t need to be worried about these two parameters.

How many percentage of water changes do i have to make? I have 55 gallon tank.
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Old 11-29-2008, 07:57 AM   #4
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is it a bare tank? how big/old are you discus? and how much and what kind of food do you feed?
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Old 11-29-2008, 08:06 AM   #5
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it is a planted tank, between low-medium light.

two young discus and one probably and an adult.

I feed them with brine shrimp and flake.
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Old 11-29-2008, 08:14 AM   #6
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imo its better to put adult fish in planted tanks, then you can get away with a single feeding per day and maybe one 50% WC a week(more is always better). growing out juvies in a planted tank is not impossible, you just have to keep up with WC...maybe if you can push it up to 2-3 more 50-75% WC a week?? good luck

PS check this site out simplydiscus.com/forum
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Old 11-29-2008, 08:15 AM   #7
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then you can get away with a single feeding per day ??

what do you mean?


I think the young kid is like 3-5 inches.
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Old 11-29-2008, 08:26 AM   #8
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because adult fish tend to not eat as much as juvies.
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Old 11-29-2008, 08:28 AM   #9
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oh okay.
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Old 11-29-2008, 09:18 AM   #10
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and the adult discus have already grown and their metabolism has slowed, they dont need near as much food to keep their size.

otherwise, to keep young discus in a planted tank and feed them enough, you really need to be doing 50%wc's twice a week, at least. its also probably best to do wc's right before the lights go out as to keep fluctuating co2 effects to a minimum.

ive tried both ways, raising young discus in a planted tank can be challenging. it is much easier to grow them to a decent size in a tank without much decor and is easy to keep clean, do 50% water changes every day and feed 3+ times a day.

another reason to raise them in a bare bottom tank is that you can burn the lights for 12 hours a day, gives you more time to feed the fish. litterally. so if you are away from home during the day, you are able to feed once before you leave, then when you get back, and again an hour later.. then change the water before the lights kick off. not only can you burn the lights for 12 hrs, you can crank the temp to 86.


as you can understand, massive feedings and a compulsive WC schedule, high temps, plus a long lighting duration for more feeding opportunities are things that are great for the growth of young discus, but are awful when combined with a planted tank.

you can do both, but it is a compromise to the max size of the fish. also, it puts more of a demand of labor on you.
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Old 11-29-2008, 09:43 AM   #11
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What's the reason behind so many water changes for Discus? Is it only to lower nitrates down? I never really got a clear answer to why WC are needed to be done daily. It just says, "Do it to make it grow." But doesn't say what exactly the water changes help eliminate. Because what if the planted tank constantly reads 0 nitrates due to fast growing plants?
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Old 11-29-2008, 02:28 PM   #12
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Take everything you hear and read with a grain of salt. When someone says you can keep discus in tapwater as long as ph and hardness are stable, take that with two grains of salt. Better yet, ignore the comment unless you have specifics. Tapwater varies from one place to another and yours could be totally different than your friend's living just a few blocks away. I've seen tapwater that was so hard I would never consider keeping discus in it and I've seen tapwater so soft that rift lake cichlids couldn't survive in it. Some people I know here in Indy kept asking if they could keep discus in their tapwater until they got the answer they wanted to hear. They went back to Malawi cichlids shortly after. Even if you hear using a 50/50 RO/tapwater mix is perfect it isn't giving you any useful information. Get the specifics first and then find out what correct recipe is for YOUR needs.

I keep some discus in bare bottom tanks because I'm feeding them a beef recipe and it's much easier to clean up. With the lack of surface area that decor provides there isn't much for nitrifying bacteria to cling to. Thus, another reason for the water changes. If I wasn't feeding the beef mix and wanting to spawn my pairs, they would be in a planted community tank with enough scavengers to keep the substrate clean.

There are other fish that are more difficult to keep. I don't consider discus to be that difficult of a challenge but at the same time they won't tolerate neglect. Most fish don't. How to care for the fish depends greatly on what you want the final outcome to be. Are you planning on being a breeder or do you just want an attractive tank? The answer to that will have a direct impact on what the best food is, what the best tankmates would be, how the tank is setup, what maintenance level is required, etc, etc.
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Old 11-29-2008, 03:27 PM   #13
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You can easily keep discus in tapwater. It all depends on where they are coming from and how close it is to yours. Most discus are tank bred, and most times the distributors are NOT using R/O water. What is important is to know how your tapwater differs from where the discus are coming from. Depending on how similar or different the parameters are you will need to simply acclimate them accordingly.

If you are purchasing WILD discus, it would be better to use R/O water and have softer water because that is what their original environment was, and even then they can be acclimated. Tank Bred discus can be kept in a ph as high as 8.0 and still thrive, so long as the ph is stable and they are acclimated to it properly. I have done so for two years and I have very healthy fish. Five of my current 19 are at about 7 inches.

I have grown over 25 or so discus and have been keeping them for about 2 years now. I am no where near an expert, but experience and simplydiscus.com have helped me tremendously with my success. When trying to figure out how many water changes and how many feedings to do, it all depends on the age of the discus and how much you feed/what you feed. Discus have small stomachs and need to be fed several times per day. Young discus need to be fed between 4-8 times per day. Their stomachs are smaller than adults and it is critical for healthy growth. Adults on the other hand can be fed as less once per day.

This means that with smaller discus, feeding 4-8 times per day will effect the water quality greatly, whereas adults being fed once a day should affect the parameters much less. Hence the reason people suggest that adult discus be added to planted tanks and young discus to bare-bottom tanks(where it is easier to clean). Water changes are suggested daily for young discus to reduce nitrates as at young stages in their life it can greatly affect their growth rate and health.


In regards to the types of foods, beefheart will grow them the fastest. Plain and simple, has been proven for years. However, it will also foul the water the fastest, and which is why I choose not to use it. I feed Hikari Discus Bio Gold and Hikari FBW. These two affect the water quality much less and hence I can feed 4-8 times per day and get away with only doing water changes every other day if I wanted too(I still do them daily, its become second nature now). Also, I use chemi-pure now and it has made a tremendous difference and it last for about 3 months. When I did not use chemi-pure, I would have to do water changes daily to keep the nitrates in check. I also have 6 filters on my growout tank so this gives me wiggle room as well. You don't have to do water changes daily, it all depends on your setup. But you will still have to do them multiple times a week.

It would be very hard for a planted tank to read "0" nitrates if you are correctly feeding a group of young discus(6 or more). There is too much excess food as well as the fact that they excrete so much waste on a daily basis. In addition to that, discus are slow grazers and clumsy eaters at times. Even with the most careful feeding some food will go uneaten. In a barebottom tank you can simply siphon it out. I guess if you have a horde of scavengers, it could alleviate this somewhat.

If you want discus in a planted tank, I suggest buy adult. It will save you money on food(I spend about $50 a week on frozen food) in the long run as well as a lot of work. I love the discus I have grown, but if I could do it again, I would buy adults and put them in a very nice show tank.

Last edited by number1sixerfan; 11-29-2008 at 05:40 PM..
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Old 11-29-2008, 04:22 PM   #14
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Quote:
Tank Bred discus can be kept in a ph as high as 8.0 and still thrive, so long as the ph is stable and they are acclimated to it properly.
Again, not enough specifics have been given to make such a blanket statement. Ph of 8.0 does not necessarily mean hard water or even relates to what the hardness is. When I lived in ND my ph was only 7.6-7.8 but it would kill most discus and even domestic angels in a very short time. Why? Because my gh and kh was constantly in the 20's and even my tds reading was ovr 600. I could raise discus fry in the water up to about 3-4 inches but then had to start cutting the water with RO.

As far as "Most Discus Breeders" not using RO...... Most of the ones I know DO or they have tapwater that is less than the liquid rock found in many parts of the US. I can also say that I've had far more wild discus than domestic and I find the wilds to be a lot tougher overall with only a few exceptions.

Discus Hans has great fish and some of the hardiest that can be found anywhere. I brought a bunch home with me when I was in his area last month. They may cost a bit more but I think they're worth every penny. I also have some from Mayasia that are tough as nails too.

I won't say that discus cannot be kept in tapwater but I won't say they can either without knowing what the parameters are. Even then, the parameters will have a bearing on the maintenance schedule. I don't believe discus are as finicky as many say they are but if they could handle the same conditions as rift lake cichlids and/or livebearers the stores would be full of them.
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Old 11-29-2008, 05:28 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmc View Post
Again, not enough specifics have been given to make such a blanket statement.
There is proof that most people will not need R/O water, and that proof is the hundreds of discus keepers(unless they are trying to breed) that do not use RO water. Most any tapwater will be fine for discus, that is a fact. There are very few instances that someone will need R/O water to keep discus unless you are breeding them. It's pretty much overkill unless you are trying to breed or in extreme circumstances. For example, if your harndess is much higher than where you are getting the discus from, the discus may have a tough time acclimating and thriving(still can be overcame with careful acclimation). I absolutely admit though, that it is more ideal to keep discus is softer waters, just like other fish but it certainly isn't a requirement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rmc View Post
Ph of 8.0 does not necessarily mean hard water or even relates to what the hardness is. When I lived in ND my ph was only 7.6-7.8 but it would kill most discus and even domestic angels in a very short time. Why? Because my gh and kh was constantly in the 20's and even my tds reading was ovr 600. I could raise discus fry in the water up to about 3-4 inches but then had to start cutting the water with RO.
Your right, high ph doesn't mean hard water. But you would be hard pressed to find a tank with a ph of 7 or 8 without a trace of hardness. They are related. GH and kh can be in the 20s and not kill discus so long as they are acclimated properly and the parameters are stable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rmc View Post
As far as "Most Discus Breeders" not using RO...... Most of the ones I know DO or they have tapwater that is less than the liquid rock found in many parts of the US. I can also say that I've had far more wild discus than domestic and I find the wilds to be a lot tougher overall with only a few exceptions.
I didn't mean breeders, excuse me, I should have said distributors. There are plenty of middleman sellers(like Kenny, April, etc.) at simplydiscus, discusforums, etc. who buy from breeders in Asia. They then sell them to other people here in the states. And most of them don't use R/O, now do most of their customers. If you are breeding that is another story because the fish have more special needs. In regards to the wilds, if they are truly wild caught then you are in the minority, as tank bred discus(and other fish) are generally more hardy because conditions are usually more alike with tank bred fish than fish in the wild.

But in regards to keeping discus with no desire breeding them, there really is no need for R/O water in most cases. My water here in Cincinnati, Ohio is hard and my discus have thrived. Most have grown 3 inches in 3 months.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rmc View Post
I won't say that discus cannot be kept in tapwater but I won't say they can either without knowing what the parameters are. Even then, the parameters will have a bearing on the maintenance schedule. I don't believe discus are as finicky as many say they are but if they could handle the same conditions as rift lake cichlids and/or livebearers the stores would be full of them.
I'm not saying they aren't sensitive to water quality, as they definitely are. But stability and clean water is much more important that harness and ph. The simple fact that most discus keepers aren't using R/O proves that it isn't a necessity for just about all cases. And the main reason they are not in fish stores is because good quality discus, as you know, can run anywhere from $100-300.

Discus are very much like blue rams and cardinals, with discus being more hardy than both when adult. They can be kept successfully in hard water, but it is recommended that they are in soft water(because that is their original environment).

But I am wondering at what point do you think R/O is necessary? What parameters would mandate R/O?
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